Thirteen citizens of Burkina Faso who were part of foreign nationals arrested by the Upper East Regional Police Command for illegally entering into the country have been deported home.

Other 494 people believed to be Nigerians have been handed over to the Ghana Immigration Service to process and deport them, Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), Mr David Fianko-Okyere, the Public Relations Officer, Regional Police Command, said this in an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Bolgatanga.

He said the Police Command in the region had implemented a new operation strategy which included; a 24-hour robust patrol on highways and swoops, especially in the Bolgatanga Township.

He said the operation led to the arrest of 507 foreigners in the Bolgatanga Municipality and its environs who were citizens of Burkina Faso and Nigeria.

According to him, apart from the intelligence of the police service, they also had information from the public about the influx of foreign nationals into their communities.

He said the residents attributed the rising crime in the region to alleged illegal activities of the foreigners and the swoop conducted by the police service and other security agencies led to the arrest of 507 people.

He said preliminary investigations by the Ghana Police Service indicated that those arrested stayed in the country without proper documents, but said the Ghana Immigration Service was in the process of processing all the foreigners before deporting them.

ASP Fianko-Okyere noted that due to the geographical location, the 13 people from Burkina had already been handed over to the appropriate authorities in that country,while the rest who are believed to be Nigerians have been transported to the Immigration headquarters in Accra, to be deported.

The PRO noted that apart from those arrested there were some Nigerians who voluntarily handed themselves over to the police service to be deported back to Nigeria and the Immigration Service was working on such people as well.

He explained that the implementation of the new operation strategy was to ensure that the region was safe with lives and property protected with COVID-19 directives respected.

He said an investigation was ongoing to ascertain the time of entry into the country and people found to have gone against the country’s laws would be dealt with accordingly and the data of all the foreigners arrested were documented by the Immigration Service and it would be easier to locate anyone in future who would be found to have committed any offense while he or she was residing in Ghana.

The PRO however appealed to residents especially landlords to always do diligent background checks on foreigners and provide information to the security agencies before renting rooms to them.

“We are saying that it would be appropriate to liaise with Ghana Police Service and Ghana Immigration Service to do background checks on them and have them on record and find out what they are doing,” he said.

He also appealed to people living along the border to cooperate with the security agencies and report any suspected movement of people into the country for investigation and action.